My Moment of Zen

The good news is, I’ll now be able to go to sleep at 11pm. The bad news is, it is because The Daily Show ended last night. Oh, sure, there will be a new host next month, and perhaps I will watch it. And, sure, I am really liking Larry Wilmore and will watch The Nightly Show, though I’m likely to tape it, rather than stay awake.

As so many other shows that go off the air, or change hosts, or change something dramatic, the finale last night pulled at heartstrings, with some seemingly unexpected tributes, and a show that trumpeted the show, rather than the host. No surprise there. And since it is easy to find (just click the link on the word “finale” above!), I’ll let you watch or read about it, or, well, ignore it all, too.

Anyone who has watched the show wasn’t really surprised that Jon Stewart, who ended every show with “A Moment of Zen”, ended last night with HIS Moment of Zen. And that the Moment was no other than… Bruce Springsteen.

So how was it MY Moment of Zen?

I watched, of course. And I cheered when Bruce and band started singing, “Land of Hopes and Dreams”, a request from Jon. And I noticed the clock as they finished and started singing a verse from “Born to Run”… I saw the clock tick from 11:59 to 12:00, and the day go from August 6, to August 7. From the day before, to the day of… my mother’s birthday.

My mother introduced me to The Daily Show (and former Colbert Report, after it) and my mother loved and adored Bruce. When I was taking care of her, all I had to do was put on Bruce, and she’d laugh and sing and dance.

Max Wenberg's Sticks

Mood: Drumsicks – Waaay better than being given the winning game ball…

It was, and will remain, for me, a Moment of Zen.

As she has done every year since she died, my mother has given me my favorite weather today. We have been socked in with high heat and higher humidity, and even higher dew points. Today… cool, crisp, and rather than dew points in the humid and oppressive 60s and 70s, today it is mid 40s. In a word… heaven. My mother shared heaven with me. It will be a snuggle with the blankets night, for sure.

Oh, and another gift today? The last three berries, much later in the season than ever before.

Moments of Zen, berries, perfect weather. Life is good. Happy Birthday, Mom! ♥

The First Day in a Very Blue Moon

The Universe has a way of consistently reminding me of synchronicity, of serendipity, of all things good and wonderful and beautiful. Even as it occasionally reminds me of the less-than-wonderful, which is okay, too.

I’ve posted about this day, this time of year, before. The First Day in August was big for me, huge. Huger than huge. I didn’t know when I wrote that post, that simply the writing of it, the sharing, the getting-it-out-there-ness of it, would mean deeper and deeper healing, to a point that the end-of-July discomfort no longer has any hold on me, none at all. I jump for joy and dance and sing, that the heaviness has let go. Yippppeeee!!!

Still, I’m not one to ignore traditions and rituals. No, no, no, not me! Not ever! And especially never any that include songs!

So, today, as I have for decades, I listen to a Carole King song, “The First Day in August”. And because today there will be a blue moon, I’m also listening to “Once In A Very Blue Moon”. Oh, and so many other songs, but these two… repeatedly. (Perhaps were you here, you might be thinking that “ad nauseam” fits better than “repeatedly”… aren’t you glad you aren’t?!) Most definitely!

Frrrozen Hot Chocolate

Mood: Yummmmm…

I love synchronous, serendipitous days. Love, love, love them!

This Man Deserves a Parade

This Day in History:

Jul 08, 1881, Edward Berner, druggist in Two Rivers, WI, poured chocolate syrup on ice cream in a dish. Up to this time, chocolate syrup had only been used for making ice-cream sodas.

Can you believe this? Sundaes didn’t exist mere minutes after ice cream was invented? I shake my head in disbelief!

I guess they were too busy eating:

berries

Mood: You thought you’d not see berries? Ha…

:-D

Unexpected Places

Almost always, when hope returns for me, it is because of The Helpers. You know who I mean, the people who just show up to do what is needed, who support and care and most often do it all without fanfare, without wanting acclaim. They fill me with hope, and restore my faith in humankind.

Imagine my surprise, my shock, that this time, it was nothing other than the Supreme Court of the US, who restored my hope. Two decisions, two days in a row, that make me think… maybe, maybe, things can turn around, maybe, maybe, we all stand a chance. Maybe. And it is about time.

ice cream

Mood: Definitely an ice cream kind of day!

I’m one of those people for whom Obamacare doesn’t quite go far enough. Frankly, I want the same health insurance I provide my senators with my tax dollars. It’s the least I should get. But, BUT… this nonsense about parsing the word “the”… thank goodness the Supreme Court ruled the right way. And now, please, VT, back away from this completely, totally incompetent state exchange, and let us have the Federal program.

I’m one of those people who chose not to marry. The reasons, whether not the right guy, not the right time, whatever, don’t matter, I chose not to. However, those who want to and are of age and consent, let them, and rejoice in it. In health and happiness, no matter their gender. I toast them, gladly.

Thank you, Supreme Court!! :-D

In other news, they found and killed one of the prison escapees, and are actively (based on the nonstop tv coverage, the word “frantically” comes to mind) searching for the second. The news they get in that area is our local news, too, so it has been a constant feed here, and since the report this afternoon the news desk has only taken breaks for commercials, nothing else has been shown. I’ll be glad when they get the second guy, this calms down to a dull roar and then disappears until the BOATS (based on a true story) movie hits one of the cable channels. That other than the escapee, so far everyone has remained safe, is a blessing and a miracle.

And in other, other news, the berry alert begins! Maybe tomorrow, maybe Sunday, some will be ripe for picking. You have been warned!

Six of One – Priceless

I recently read something about grief, that grief is the price of loving. I thought about that, a lot.

I don’t agree. Grief isn’t the price of love, it is the proof of love. It is the proof and life, of love. I’m sure of that.

Last night, it rained. Torrential, pounding, pouring rain. It was supposed to hit early evening, but it didn’t start until I was in bed, and it stayed through the night.

This morning it was grey, damp, as the rain dried, the skies cleared, and now, as expected… gorgeous. It is a beautiful, sunny, breezy, cool day. My favorite weather. Exactly as I knew it would be.

Today, six years ago, my Mom died. That day, too, was clear and breezy and cool.

There are things my mother does, to let me know she is thinking of me. The weather, my favorite weather, is one of them. I know she would like to change some things for me, “erase, fix” some others. There is only so much she can do. Weather is one of them.

peony

Mood: Cuddled

Of course, a candle is lit. Her favorite dinner will be shared. And this year, I received another gift from her.

Yesterday, the news out of Charleston, of hatred and racism and murder, hit me hard. Very hard. It’s not something I can ever really understand, can never make sense of. Last night I watched Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, and his words, the entire show, gave me the perspective, the support, I needed.

How was that a gift from Mom? Oh, she watched it nightly, introduced me to it. And last night, somehow, rather than sleeping, I knew to turn it on. Actually, no somehow about it… Mom knew the show, and the torrential rain, were exactly what I needed.

Thank you, Mom.

I love you, Mom. Happy Birthday, my friend. ♥

When Life Gives You Bananas

Maybe “requires you to have” would be more accurate. But not as good a title. :-D

Bananas. As in: Bananas Applesauce Rice Toast. Yep, the BRAT diet, which can only mean one thing.

Friday night I was slammed with food poisoning. I mean… slammed. It wasn’t fun at all. :-(

As I was nibbling the corner of a piece of toast on Sunday, and thinking that it was going to get really old, really fast, I looked over at the bananas. They were brown… too brown to eat with any happiness. Then I looked at the toast again, and the banana, and… voila!!

cracker

Mood: Yes, I know, the toast has a stand-in.

It may not be some exotic spread or delicious jam, but… it worked. I was so pleased with myself, I had THREE sips of ginger ale! THREE! Do I know how to live it up, or what?

In other news, the prison is about 20 miles away. They have the same “local” news as we do, so it is constant chatter about the escaped convicts. Today they announced they are expanding the search into Vermont. I’m not worried, but it sure feels different knowing they may have crossed the lake. Sigh.

Everyone stay safe and healthy, please!

Not in Wonderland

I’ve never been afraid of death. Oh, I’m certainly not courting it, but… no fear, either. I’ve always thought of it as the next part of some journey, whatever that may be. And if it is, indeed, nothing, that’s okay, too.

When I was taking care of my Mom, we discussed this all the time. Death was sniffing around her heels, and she was terrified. I would be in bed with her, holding hands, and she’d say, “Resie, tell me… how can you not be afraid of it?”

I’m afraid of pain, most definitely. And I was afraid of how much I would miss my Mom, she was my best friend. But death, itself… no.

She would say, “I can’t imagine or want to be in any kind of world, without you in it!” and I would remind her that for 28 years, she did just fine without me, and we would always, always be connected. Always. I believe that.

As it came closer and closer, her fear intensified, and I would calm her. There were people, she said, who had come to get her, they were loud, scaring her even more. I suggested how she might talk with them, so they weren’t so loud, so frightening. It worked.

Why am I sharing this, now? Because there is something that terrifies me, to the core.

Alzheimer’s.

I saw “Still Alice” the other day, and no surprise that Julianne Moore was superb in this movie, she is a great actress. The basic story, without giving anything away: a brilliant woman, a scholar, discovers that she has Alzheimer’s.

I didn’t sleep that night. Or the next. I realized… this, even more than pain, terrifies me beyond control. It is what Big Brother in “1984” would use against me. It is what must truly be the very depths of hell, on earth.

Alzheimer’s.

No, I don’t have any reason for concern, though that never stops fear. And even though I got the book to read, in time I will see other movies, have other thoughts, see a creepy crawly, drop chocolate, and this won’t be so close, so strong. For now, though…

Alice. I didn’t realize how many books, movies, use that name so easily. When I was trying to come up with a title, I thought of “Go Ask Alice” and “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”. Maybe there aren’t so many, maybe they are just that good, that memorable. I’ll have to remember… Alice in a title may be a great omen, even if the story is a sad one.

On a lighter note:

discovery

Mood: I wouldn’t have found that note on Mother’s Day!

May all your discoveries be wonderful!

Grace Period

I don’t believe in coincidence, not at all. Oh, do I believe in serendipity! And not just because the NY restaurant with that name has Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. No, I think the Universe works in mysterious ways, things happen for reasons, and many of them, so very many of them, are happy reasons. Oh, yes!

serendipity
noun ser·en·dip·i·ty \ˌser-ən-ˈdi-pə-tē\

The art of making happy discoveries, of finding the pleasantly unexpected by chance or sagacity.

When my mother became ill years ago, I was befriended by someone paying it forward… she knew what was ahead of me, and hoped to provide some thought and a shoulder. She succeeded, along with great friendship and wisdom and amazing help and guidance. And lots of laughter, too.

Our friendship grew, and we were amazed at some of the commonalities, things that many would never have heard of, places we had been, family names, so many things.

One such thing… she lives very near where I grew up.

Visiting her meant, well, going home. I could drive past my old house, the schools, the shops and restaurants that held so many memories for me, of my grandparents, my mother, my childhood. For the past several years, I had a connection to the past, one I would never have expected. And created new memories as we stopped at some of those places, took trips into Manhattan, indulged me when I visited other friends there.

About a month ago, one last visit, one last trip. Today, my friend closed on her house, leaving the town and the state behind. They have moved on to their next chapter, one that will make them very happy in so many ways.

I lose my words at times, and now is one of them. I can’t adequately express my gratitude and love to this friend and her unmatched generosity, who opened her heart and home to me, who included me with her family, who has made me laugh until I cried, and waited as I cried until I laughed. She gave me the most unexpected gift, one I didn’t know I needed, a grace period of letting go of some of the past.

I will always be so very grateful for this amazing grace, this lasting friendship. ♥

Loved

There was a column in a local paper, a daughter writing about her mother, who died in 1991. The author noted that years ago there was some study that talking to your mother lowers stress, chatting with her online doesn’t. She wrote, “The theory is that the sound of her voice is calming; what she says is not that important.”

It isn’t any surprise that I talk to my mother all the time. All. The. Time. And I know she hears me, even though sometimes she remains stubbornly silent. That’s okay, she’s telling me I know the answer, what to do.

I was thinking about the article today, and how to get a sign from my mother, one that didn’t involve laundry and tissues. That it is cooler than the 93 degrees of the past three days, was that her sign?

I went on with my morning, my day, and was walking through one room into another when I was drawn to a moving box (yes, there are still boxes yet to be unpacked. How many years? Don’t. Ask.) and opened it. I laughed at the serendipity because just the other day I was thinking it was time to move some items on to other people, and there were some in the box, how good to find them! Time to empty the box, which I did, into a much smaller, much tidier box. There were some papers, a recipe, a writing pad, and at the very bottom of the box, a note. From my mother.

note

Mood: What a lovely sight…

As I was reading it the skies opened, and the rain we so desperately need started. I read over and over again, “Dear Resie… Love Mom”, way more than a sign. Way, way more.

Last year, I posted about Katie Hafner’s New York Times Mother Daughter word cloud. I looked at the cloud, and saw the word I added: Missed.

Today, I added a new word: Loved. ♥